October 7, 2011

The sleek modernity of train travel in Europe — now, with pee bags.

"Dutch National Railways is introducing emergency plastic bags for passengers to urinate in as part of its first-aid provision on some commuter trains.
"When you have to wait three or four hours on a train, then it is quite logical you have some people aboard who need to go to a restroom...."


Class factotum said...

That is a great idea. I got stuck on a bus once with no toilet and had to beg the driver to pull over so I could run into the bushes. There is no desperation as desperate as that of a woman denied a toilet.

Maguro said...

Why would anyone be on a "commuter" train for 4 hours? That's the part I don't get.

David said...


mesquito said...

Oh bullshit. You can't go any direction in the Netherlands for four hours without leaving the country.

ricpic said...

Whatever you do, when the urge comes on don't look down on the Zuyder Zee!

Florida Gator said...

The Japanese already have a solution for this!

Ann Althouse said...

I think I remember reading about the use of adult diapers to deal with this problem. In China, I think. When you have a solution that's worse than adult diapers.... what does that say?

But it's the difference between everyone planning ahead, just in case, and dealing with that one guy (or lady) with an emergency.

edutcher said...

Tell me again how these are the people GodZero and Lurch and the rest of the "intellectuals" on the Left keep telling us bitter clingers should be emulating.

Sixty Grit said...

Garbage is peeing himself in anticipation of riding his very own choo choo.

WV: imbelis - too stoopid to add decoration.

Coketown said...

The you're-a-peein' jokes practically write themselves.

pogo101 said...

Gerard Depardieu says, Oui oui!

Coketown said...

Okay, okay, I got it. Let me try it out on you and see if it works:

If you're American when you're in a car, and you're Moroccan when you're on a camel, what are you when you're on a train?

You're a peein'. Did that work? *guffaw*

C R Krieger said...

Piddle Packs have been around for decades.  Always flew with one, but never had the need to use it.  The item usually had a thin sponge inside the thin plastic "bottle".  When women came into the fighter dodge I think they added catheterization for long flights.

Regards  —  Cliff

rhhardin said...

There's always been the motorman's friend.

MadisonMan said...

If you're in (urine) the Netherlands, wouldn't that 4 hours be spent more productively by biking to your destination? You'd probably get there.

jimbino said...

I liked the German solution: whenever we traveled there by car, we drank a lot of beer and wine, of course, and the German guys and gals learned to pee on the grass at rest stops. Amerikans are totally hung-up over bodily functions.

In Japan, sex is not a moral question. Amerikans are like Muslims and Jews: capable of making pissing and crapping (not to mention nudity) into a moral question.

YoungHegelian said...


"In Japan, sex is not a moral question."

Oh, then I guess they censor out the genital shots in their porn for simply aesthetic reasons. And, my stars & garters, they even censor 3d animation!

Got any other 3rd grade anthropological notions you'd like to run by us?

Paul said...

"When you have to wait three or four hours on a train, then it is quite logical you have some people aboard who need to go to a restroom...."

You mean they have NO RESTROOMS on their trains?

How cosmopolitan!

jimbino said...

Young Hegelian needs to get out more.

The stupid-ass airbrushing of nipples and pubes was imposed on Japan by our Amerikan MacArthur, dictator of Japan in 1945. Such Amerikan nonsense wouldn't have occurred to the Japanese in the absence of Amerikan conquest.

Paul said...

"and the German guys and gals learned to pee on the grass at rest stops."

One day you are gonna find out what all kinds of diseases you can get doing that kind of thing.


And don't think piss does not carry diseases.

jimbino said...

Paul has a fistula, which no doubt explains his confusing of urine and feces.

Human urine is considered a sterile liquid (even bottled and tap water can carry disease, depending); indeed, its regular ingestion was recommended by Gandhi and is practiced by many people around the world, even famously by James A. Pike (deceased), Bishop of the Episcopal Church in Amerika.

YoungHegelian said...

"Such Amerikan nonsense wouldn't have occurred to the Japanese in the absence of Amerikan conquest."

And, of course, if the Japanese Diet were to change the law in the 65 years since 1945, the filthy Amerikkans would nuke another city or two, because Amerikkans can't stand the sight of Japanese genitals, right?

Those crazy Amerikkans just prefer their own, completely uncensored, genitals in their own All-Amerikkan porn.

I'm sorry, I hate to go all ad hominem here, but you really are an idiot.

jimbino said...

The difference between you and me, Hegelian, is that you are young and inexperienced.

You need to learn some history and some Japanese and visit Japan with your eyes open.

Otherwise, you could just Google "sex in Japan" and learn, among other things, that:

"The Shinto faith does not regard sex as a taboo, while Buddhist teachings regarding sex, often strict, have been limited in their impact in practice.

From the 15th century, Chinese, Koreans and other East Asian visitors frequented brothels in Japan."

YoungHegelian said...


Stuff you and your exalted wisdom!

If sex isn't a delicate topic among the Japanese why couldn't Mrs Mishima ever admit that her husband was homosexual?

Shinto doesn't need sex to be a sin. Shinto has the concept of uncleanliness, which Christianity lacks. That's why in traditional Shinto in some parts of Japan women were secluded in huts during menstruation. Or, why Izanagi was cursed for seeing his sister Izanami in a state of pollution.

See, I know a wee bit more about Japan and its culture than I let on.

Leland said...

I'm now stuck with this image of some idiot walking up and down a train asking for urine bags, so he can drink them down later. The lengths people will go to justify rail just went a little further in this thread.

jimbino said...

Young Hegelian:

I recommend you attend a sex show at 11am Sunday morning in the red-light district of Shinjuku in Tokyo.

I paid Y3000 at the time, same as the price to overnight at the Tokyo youth hostel, and was treated to a couple of hours of live sex, a first for me, but super-enjoyable when I thought of all the Amerikan Baptists who entered church at the same hour. The show featured audience participation, meaning that once I had learned the "stone, paper, scissors" game in Japanese, I could too have sex for $12, saving me the hundreds of thousands of dollars I might pay to marry and divorce an Amerikan woman. Funny thing, the women were all young and pretty and either Korean, Filipino or Western, not Japanese!

Beats trying to pick up a willing girl at an Amerikan Baptist church by kilometers!

Maguro said...

You're a regular Margaret Mead, jimbino, lol. Also, love the whole spelling America with a "k" thing. Very edgy.

Maguro said...

I mean, that's a fascinating anecdote, but the mere existence of sex shows and prostitution doesn't do anything to support your statement "In Japan, sex is not a moral question".

For instance, there are some very fine Gentlemen's Clubs in the American, er, Amerikan south as well. Should we conclude that sex is not a moral issue in Ft Walton Beach, FL after a visit to Sammy's? Since they have donkey shows in Mexico, does that prove that sex is not a moral question in Mexico - or should that be Mexiko?

The thing is, you thought you were a canny cultural observer at your little sex show, but really you were just an idiot gaijin tourist.


Gene said...

The motormen who operated San Francisco cable cars used to have pee bags in their trousers strapped to their legs. I guess they couldn't just let a cable car standing in the street while they ran in the Mark Hopkins. I believe the bags were called the "motorman's friend."

Jose_K said...

Trains in Europe have bathrooms. The Water closet has no water . You can see the field down the train since is a hole . So people go leaving their excrement for il bel paese, la madre patria or wherever they are traveling

Bartender Cabbie said...

The Japanese censor their porn so we won't laugh at their little wieners.

Clyde said...

Sounds like they should stick to the hash brownies and the Vandersexxxxx. (Don't forget the 'safe word'!)

Seriously, the very idea of someone whipping out a pee bag would totally ruin my Eurotrip.

Lisa Nowak, call your office!

jimbino said...

No, Maggot, I can't in good conscience write "Mexiko" since Mexico is a country that has de-criminalized sex in its capital city and is not maintaining troops to secure its perverse sex rules in numerous foreign countries such as Korea, Japan, Afghanistan and Iraq.

bgates said...

I thought all the hubbub was about high-speed rail.

Incidentally, the last four words of that pull quote make any sentence funnier. It's like the MSG of humor.

"Aggregated headlines and a search engine of many of the world's news sources - now, with pee bags."

"Baseball is a bat-and-ball sport played between two teams of nine players each - now, with pee bags."

"And yet, you are still seeing some of the same folks who acted irresponsibly trying to crack down on abusive practices that got us in the situation in the first place - now, with pee bags."

EDH said...

GM: Can I paint his yoo-hoo gold? It's kind of my thing, you know.

DE: How 'bout no, you crazy Dutch bastard?

mishu said...

You know what's great about a car? You can cross the longest part of Holland in two and a half hours. Also, you can pull into a gas station or rest stop to pee. So much for choo choos.

viator said...

Another key quote from that story:

"The Dutch scheme was not prompted by any one incident, Mr Von Geusau said, but after two hard winters in the Netherlands, "you need to be prepared"."

I know, weather is not climate, but I thought it was getting warmer?

Freder Frederson said...

Why would anyone be on a "commuter" train for 4 hours? That's the part I don't get.

It really annoys me that so many commenters on this site don't bother to follow the links Ann provides as they are often deceptive and the article linked demonstrates how the lack of context can twist the thrust.

Ann is particularly guilty of this deception when it comes to her pet peeve, such as her hatred of trains, refusal to accept the fact of global warming (she loves to link to articles about unusually cold weather, but never links to stories about unusually warm weather or droughts), and anything to do with more efficient light bulbs.

Since you are too lazy to follow a link I will answer your question. People would be on a commuter train for four hours in the highly unlikely event of a major power interruption. If you bothered to read the link, you would see there wasn't even an instance where this happened, the National Railroad is just being overcautious.

Freder Frederson said...

Trains in Europe have bathrooms. The Water closet has no water . You can see the field down the train since is a hole . So people go leaving their excrement for il bel paese, la madre patria or wherever they are traveling

When was the last time you were on a train in Western Europe--1935?

You are full of shit and simply lying.

edwardroyce said...

1. "From the 15th century, Chinese, Koreans and other East Asian visitors frequented brothels in Japan."

And in the 20th century the Japanese turned many Chinese, Korean and other East Asian cities into brothels.

2. So. Super fast trains. High-speed. Bullet even. So. No bathrooms.

There is either a metaphor in there somewhere or some rather obscene jokes. Either way; FTW!

edwardroyce said...

jimbino: "Amerikan"

You realize that I don't know who you are. Haven't followed any of your previous comments and really can't care all that much. But every time you write "American" with a "k" my opinion of you dives some more.

And there ain't a lot of room left.

jimh said...

Jose isn't lying, just overgeneralizing. I last traveled in east-central Europe--Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary--about six years ago. When I flushed toilets on trains I could see the tracks below. However, returning from Slovenia to the Czech Republic I rode a very modern train through Austria.

Lamar63 said...

I'm late to this party. But I have to either correct or clarify Freder. Many trains in the former Soviet Union empty the commode directly on the tracks.

There is a large lever next to the toilet. You step on the lever and the bottom opens up. There is no water to flush the waste and yes, even in winter, the bathrooms smell awful.

PD Quig said...

I've been using a pee bottle for years while backpacking. No more getting out of a warm sleeping bag, unzipping the tent, walking barefoot across rocks, pebbles, and pine needles. Now I just zip the bag half way down, roll over, and let fly into a special bottle. Beats taking FloMax.

Paul said...


Pee is sterile ONLY in healthy humans. Those sick may very well not be.

Bildo said...

Go to your local auto parts store and you'll probably find something similar. They cost a buck or two each and have been around for a while now, and are sold for emergency situations.

dperry said...


Go to the following link:


Now look at the older trains under the Belgium, France, and U.K. sections. I don't know how old these pictures are, but it's safe to say they're much more recent then 1935. For that matter, as the introduction to the page points out, until about 20 years ago it was standard for American trains to just dump right on the rails. For extra credit, check out this:


and note the urinals under the Amsterdam section, particularly the fact that the modern ones have even less privacy than the older ones.

Now apologize to the nice Mr. Jose!

dperry said...


The current Long Island Railroad schedule from NYC to Montauk (all the way out at the eastern tip of the Island) is currently 3hrs. 3min. in rush hours, about 3h20m at other times--one way. While this service mostly caters to those spending their summers in the Hamptons, some people really do this every day. I can't get the normal schedule from Port Jervis, NY (up near the intersection of NY, NJ, and PA) to NYC right now due to the line being mostly wiped out by Irene, but if I remember correctly, that was also 3hrs+, and some do that every day, too.

Nunya said...

Port Jervis is about 2.5 hours from NYC, there's a transfer in between (Secaucus). But there are restrooms on the trains, in every other car. I've only had to suffer through using them a couple times in an emergency. Otherwise they are better left alone. And they don't empty on the tracks.

Having lived in Eastern Europe for a few years (DDR), and return to visit occasionally, I will agree that there are still trains that empty onto the tracks. This is gross when you are in a station and someone drops off the kids at the pool. They have replaced trains with something more modern on the main and express lines, but the little local trains are not so lucky.

And hey everyone - be nice to jimbino. He can't help it that the only American history book he's ever read was from Howard Zinn. Well, I guess he could help it, he just doesn't want to upset his little intellectual applecart. Personally, I'm surprised he still lives here and hasn't moved somewhere more enlightened like Syria, Cuba, North Korea, Iran or even Mexico. BTW, did I miss something in the US where you couldn't get porn on a computer without pixilation? Last I checked you could get anything you wanted, even during Southern Baptist Sunday School time.

You can tell a guy has issues when he goes to a sex show in Japan just to stick it to the Southern Baptist Man.

Special Forces Alpha Geek said...

"Human urine is considered a sterile liquid . . .indeed, its regular ingestion . . . is practiced by many people around the world, even famously by James A. Pike (deceased), Bishop of the Episcopal Church in Amerika."

Any idea what killed him??

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